Town council appreciates kudos for Creston Community Forest

North Cowichan speaks highly of Creston forest; plus briefs from Aug. 13 town council meeting…

Creston town council was pleased to see that North Cowichan municipal council spoke highly of the Creston Community Forest in a report received at the Aug. 13 regular council meeting.

The report, “Restoring Forestry in BC”, highlighted the industry’s decline and presented a case for regional management. In the section “Local is Better — Creston Community Forest is a Model for the Columbia Basin”, forester Jim Smith was credited for his creativity.

“He showed us forests he had logged five years earlier where what I called ‘skinny high-line’ intrusions and tiny ‘polka-dot’ clearcuts were no longer discernible,” said the January 2018 report by Bob Williams, B.C.’s forest minister from 1972-1975. “Even local wildflower meadows were untrammelled. The watershed was actually enhanced by the quality of Smith’s work, and residents loved the guy and totally accepted his methods.”

“We are an example to other municipalities and other towns,” said Coun. Arnold DeBoon.

The report was attached to a request for support of a resolution North Cowichan will bring to the upcoming Union of BC Municipalities convention, asking the province of B.C. to support communities to manage forests through long-term planning, an overall vision and sustainability principles, and the appointment of a forester general to work with regions on land planning.

Council Briefs

•Mayor Ron Toyota opened the meeting with an acknowledgement to the Creston Valley’s police, fire and ambulance crews, who had dealt with three fatalities, one a four-year-old girl, the day before.

“I just wanted to, on behalf of council, say thank you to them,” he said.

•A request for $150 to sponsor the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce’s January 2020 networking breakfast was approved. As he did in January 2019, Toyota will speak at the chamber’s first event of the year, updating members on the town and fielding questions. The sponsorship funds came from the mayor’s discretionary fund.

•Council received for information a request from Prince George city council, asking for support for resolutions it will present at the upcoming Union of BC Municipalities convention. The resolutions request the province to share proceeds of crime seizures with local governments, and provide ongoing funding for the cleanup of drug paraphernalia and needles in public spaces.

•Council approved a request for $1,000 from the Licence Inspectors’ and Bylaw Officers’ Association (LIBOA) to assist with legal fees for the organization, which is appealing a 2008 judicial decision that saw costs to local governments rise from $5,000-$10,000 per case to $25,000-$67,000. The $1,000 was taken from the town’s general legal expense budget.

•The first and second readings of zoning and Official Community Plan bylaw amendment 1891 and 1894 were passed, bringing a parcel of land at 519 16th Ave. S. a step closer to being rezoned from single-family residential use to multi-family residential. A public hearing will be held

•The town has issued 50 building permits since the beginning of 2019, said municipal services director Ross Beddoes. They have included a range of construction, including mobile homes, secondary residences and suites.

•Hazardous material abatement has nearly been completed at the new youth centre, located at the corner of 16th Avenue and Canyon Street, said corporate officer Stacey Hadley. The town purchased the former school district administration building, along with the Creston Education Centre. The downtown property plays a key role in the plans for the Highway 3 realignment from Canyon Street to Cook Street.

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